The personal information your prospects provide to you has to be treated not only with total security, but also with exceptional sensitivity. To maximize your customers\' comfort, realize that they are uneasy about sharing that information with you and ensure that your email marketing messages reflect your care. Innocuous Information Used For The Wrong Purposes By the early 1930s, the Netherlands had established a very thorough population registration system similar to an extensive census in order to simplify municipal administration. The government collected extensive personal information on each Dutch citizen and in order to ensure that they received correct burial procedures, also asked the religion of each person. Once the Nazis invaded the Netherlands, the records were all easily in their grasp. They used this information to determine which citizens were Jews and Gypsies, and proceeded to execute them within weeks. As a result, the Netherlands had the highest percentage of Jews killed by the Nazis, fully 73% of that population as compared to 25% in France. This historical event not only demonstrates that \"the road to hell is paved with good intentions,\" but also that data which has been collected on individuals for completely innocuous reasons can be skewed to dark purposes. The AOL Blunder That Revealed 650,000 Users The early internet powerhouse AOL committed an enormous personal privacy violation in 2006 when they, completely by accident, posted the complete search records of well over 650,000 AOL users in a massive 4.4 GB file. Although these individuals were not directly identified, it turns out that most people conduct search engine queries on their own names or even social security numbers, so many are very easily determined. Suddenly, individual web surfers were no longer anonymous and every single search term they had queried was public information, revealing every manner of eccentricity or outright perversion. \"User 927\" even became a bit of a cyber-legend as their search history was particularly chilling and became the subject of a major theatrical play. These AOL users would likely not have typed those terms into the search box had they known that it was not a strictly private event and might even end up on stage! Permission Based Marketing Treasures Privacy The sensitivity level of most online users towards protecting their privacy seems to diminish each passing day as the prevailing view is that it\'s hopeless anyway. However, that does not translate into active approval of privacy violations, and this discretion should be very carefully noted by email marketers. Permission based email marketing is a covenant between the brand and the consumer: the brand asks for permission to send email messages and the individual agrees. It is also understood that along the way, the brand will be collecting information about the individual\'s preferences for the sole purpose of offering products and services that best suit their proclivities. Most consumers are more or less in agreement with this process as it has become nearly universal, but what they don\'t want to see is their personal information flaunted. This does not only apply to revealing that information to third parties, but even by direct reference within the email marketing message itself. Nuance & Subtlety Are The Keys To Considerate Emails How the personal information is embodied in the email is where nuance comes very much into play. An elegant reference to their item of interest is always preferable to a clumsy direct statement. If we consider the rather extreme example of a pharmaceutical company communicating with a sufferer of a highly contagious disease, subtlety in portraying the clinical information is going to be preferable to \"Hi Typhoid Mary, don\'t infect everyone you know, buy…\" Compassionate consideration of your readers\' personal privacy will be appreciated and rewarded. Keep that in mind when planning your next campaign.
The holiday season is a great time to step up your email marketing efforts and tighten the loyalty strings of all your subscribers. So make sure you don’t miss out on the perfect opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your subscribers - follow our great holiday email marketing tips and leave your competitors holding onto their empty stockings! Tip 1: The early bird gets the worm The prelude to the holiday season marks the start of festive excitement. With chilly weather comes the desire to make wish lists and buy presents. It is no coincidence that the start of holiday weather also marks the start of decorations, flyers and other prequels to the approaching holiday season. By promoting your goods for the upcoming holiday in advance, you get the chance to reach out to customers when they have the time, money and motivation to buy from you. This is the period where you can get the most out of shoppers, so be sure to cash in on this early bird opportunity. Tip 2: Avoid the urge to overmail In today’s age of extreme competition it is easy to see why you would want to send constant and frequent holiday emails. After all, you don’t want to chance getting left behind. However, it would be wise to remember that it is human tendency to shy away from anything that seems too eager and goes in for a hard sell. Frequent holiday emails will most likely be followed by a quick unsubscribe and an even quicker spam complaint. So if you want to keep your subscribers, make sure you don’t irritate them with too many emails. Tip 3: Cash in on vouchers, gift cards and certificates Offering vouchers and gift cards may seem like small sales but they add up to a good tenth of all holiday expenditure. Also, purchases of gift cards and certificates tend to be exchanged and returned much less frequently than actual products. Another good thing about such gifts is that they appeal to a whole segment of subscribers - your last minute shoppers! Vouchers are the perfect gift for those who have waited till the last second to buy something; with a gift certificate these shoppers are able to hand something to their loved ones even at the last moment. Tip 4: Contribute to a charity Tap into the holiday spirit and contribute towards a charity. You can inform your subscribers that a percentage of your sales will go towards this charitable organization and provide them with details regarding this donation in your emails. Donating towards a good cause has a two fold effect; it lets you contribute towards a worthy cause and also draws in consumers as it appeals to their holiday spirit. Tip 5: Analyze your previous results and plan accordingly Take a look at your strategies and results for the previous years. It would also be helpful to make a note of your competitors’ past strategies and how these worked for them. You can then plan out your strategy and goals for the upcoming festive season, based on the successes and failures of the past. Factors that you can focus on here would be the type and frequency of communication, the success of your template design and ways to ensure that your campaign is ready to be launched in time. Tip 6: Send surveys to discover preferences Surveys are a great way to discover consumer preferences and interests. Once you discover where their interests lie you will be able to target your subscribers with effective email messages that are sure to get you great results. You can even request your subscribers to provide you with customer reviews and feedback. Surveys and feedback provide you with answers to important questions such as what your subscribers are most keen to hear about, do they want to carry out their holiday shopping with you and how often do they expect you to send them holiday email marketing messages. This helps to draw a framework on which your marketing strategy can be built. Tip 7: Plan your email marketing strategy Planning your strategy would include profiling your subscribers and coming up with marketing messages that would appeal best to each segment group. Once you decide what to say, you should come up with a plan on when to say it and how frequently. Make time for messages of appreciation and decide the optimum time to introduce new gifts, upcoming sales and important countdowns. A good idea would be to get hold of a calendar and plot the dates on which you plan to send introductory and follow up emails. Tip 8: Test till you know what works best Testing your holiday email messages is an important way to realize what works best for you. By testing your emails you can fine tune your campaign and hit upon a winning formula for success. Testing allows you to tweak your messages so each delivery makes the maximum impact. It also gives you keen insight into how you can make an impression on your subscribers. It allows you to come up with the most impressive template design and discover the optimum time to start your campaign. Testing lets you reach out to your subscribers in unique yet extremely effective ways that appeal to them (one great way to reach them is through contests and free gifts). Testing also provides you with important statistics such as your bounce and conversion rate. This allows you to keep track of your progress and helps you adjust your deliveries to maximize your results. Tip 9: Continue with your campaign post holiday season The end of the holiday season doesn’t mean the end of your email marketing. On the contrary, this is the best time to tie up your holiday loose ends and draw customers back into your shop for post holiday shopping! This period is perfect for pushing voucher redemptions, cross selling goods and even marketing product upgrades. You can also use this time to make a note of the highs and lows of your overall performance and learn from your experience. The holiday season is a time of festivity, goodwill and joyous shopping! Everyone has something they would like to buy - it is YOUR job to sell it to them! Can you think of any more simple tips to boost holiday profits? Do let us know! In the meantime , check out our new holiday email templates